Wine Talk

Snooth User: vin0vin0

And now for something completely different ...

Posted by vin0vin0, Feb 20, 2015.

Thought I'd start a topic to see what "different" wines people are drinking. I've been on a hunt to find wines made from lesser known grapes or from unusual areas. Here's one:


So, what besides cabs and chards have you tried lately?

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Reply by EMark, Feb 20, 2015.

I will try to play, here, vv, not today, though,  I don't know if I can meet your standard as to the definition of "something completely different."  I do have an Ugni Blanc from Gascony in my inventory, and I'll probably get to that soon. Other than that, I'm going to have scratch my head to find something that meets your standard.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 20, 2015.

Vino, I've never had a colombard with a long finish. Please let me know if you find one. Ugni blanc can be a little better....

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 21, 2015.

Here's one of the more eccentric Chard sparklers I've had...the guy who brought it was trying to explain the process (I believe they do not disgorge?), but I was none the wiser. Anyhow, I loved the wine and need to look in to getting more.

Reply by GregT, Feb 21, 2015.

"what besides cabs and chards have you tried lately"

Don't know Vino - since Thanksgiving I've had one Chard and 7 Cabs, which is kind of high on the Cab side but my wife likes those. Had far more Tempranillo, which isn't an unusual grape, as well as more Syrah, Garnacha, Mencia, Nebbiolo and oddly, Mourvedre, and then the odd Harslevelu and Trepat.

What was unusual, at least for me since I didn't know much was grown in the US, was California Lagrein, Nebbiolo and Trousseau. I heartily applaud those efforts. The Lagrein in particular was really interesting. Darker and richer than what I've had from N. Italy but not in the least jammy and overdone, had kind of dusty cocoa overtones on the finish. Really interesting, pretty good, and I'd like to try more. The Nebbiolos I'm kind of comparing to Langhe and Alba and Valtellina, i.e. non-Barbaresco/Barolo. Those are also interesting and in some cases pretty good.

Not to hijack your thread but for me the most unusual is something that has very little acreage in CA.

If anyone is interested, here are the grapes that constitute one percent or less of the acreage in CA. Cab Franc is just over 1%, Malbec just under. Nebbiolo is around 0.05%. Cab, Zin, Merlot, and Pinot Noir make up over 70% of the total acreage. Primitivo shouldn't be on this list and I don't know that anyone wants to drink wine from the Mission grape, although I'd like to just for educational purposes.

Cabernet Franc



Petit Verdot

Sangiovese *

Alicante Bouschet *

Mataro *

Tempranillo *

Muscat Hamburg *





Gamay (Napa) *

Touriga Nacional *


Meunier *






Cinsaut *









Touriga Francesca


Reply by vin0vin0, Feb 21, 2015.

JD, found this on the internet:

Method Ancestral
This method, which can be quite difficult to control, is still used in the French appellations of Limoux, Gaillac, Bugey and Cerdon…
It is likely that this was the first method developed for making effervescent/sparkling wines.
Phase 1 :
Making the base wine
Classic techniques for making still, half-fermented white wines.
Phase 2 :
Transforming the base wine (still wine with residual sugar) into an effervescent/sparkling wine.
The secondary fermentation (“prise de mousse”) occurs in bottles without addition of sugar (no tirage liqueur or expedition liqueur).
The “prise de mousse” is stopped simply by yeast cell depletion. The deposit is insignificant in volume and is not ejected from the bottle. In other words, there is no disgorging.
With this method, the action of the native or cultured yeast cells is controlled or stopped by:
Depletion of the medium or of nutrients, low temperature.
Depletion of the medium or filtration, sulphur dioxide addition.
You said you loved the wine, any descriptors to go along with the feelings?
Greg - you're not hijacking the thread, these are exactly the kinds of things I'm hoping people share.  There are a few on your list I haven't tried yet (from the US or elsewhere). BTW what does the * signify?
Reply by GregT, Feb 21, 2015.

Basically, they just bottle before fermentation is finished and let it continue in the bottle. Bad wine makers do it all the time. If you do it intentionally, you have to learn when there is just enough sugar left to convert so you get just enough bubbles that won't blow up the bottle.  Based on the brix and the yeast, you can kind of figure out when to bottle. Sometimes they chill the wine to stop fermentation until it's bottled.

It's less complicated and more primitive and more dangerous than the Champagne method or the prosecco method where they just shoot it full of carbon dioxide like soda. Sometimes they sell those wines with crown caps too, just like beer.

I don't know that wine in the pic, but a lot of times the wines made this way are kind of cloudy because they don't remove the dead yeast cells like they do with Champagne. Actually, I guess some people do because I've had some clear wines made this way, but I don't know exactly how they do it.

Vino - the stars mean it's grown under different names. But looking at the list, it doesn't completely make sense. In Spain they grow Alicante Bouschet as Garnacha Tintorera - I don't know it by any other name in CA. Not that I should know of course, but something like that would kind of stick.

And they don't even list Blaufrankisch, but I know that Pax make some. Maybe there's only one vineyard? No idea. Same with "Green Hungarian" and yet I've had some in Temecula of all places.

Souzao, Touriga Francesca, and Touriga Nacional are Port grapes so if you've had Port, chances are you've had those. I'm really interested in tasting some from CA though because I think those would make perfect sense in the southern part of the State, or even inland.

Carnelian and Centurian I've heard of and never tasted. They are pretty new grapes. Salvador and Royalty I never even heard of.  I have no idea but would guess that those are all like Rubired, which isn't on this list because there's so much of it planted.

People have bred grapes like those to produce large crops in the Central Valley. Sometimes they're included in anonymous box and jug wines but mostly they're just used to produce coloring, powdered tannins, etc. So when you have something like Earthquake Zinfandel, which is black, ripe, rich, and thick, maybe it would be more accurate to call that a Zin/Rubired blend. In Bordeaux they used to include one percent of Tannat in the blend but now you just add a spoonful of powdered tannins.

Other than those and the Mission, I've had all of the other grapes from Europe. From CA I haven't had Carmenere, Dornfelder, the Port grapes or Teraldego. And I'm wondering why on earth someone would plant Dornfelder, which doesn't even make very good wine in Germany! I just never understood why Germany, capable of so much, feels it has to make red wine. They put out stuff like Regent, Dorfelder, Blauburgunder, etc.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 21, 2015.

GT, I'll set you up with the Port varietals.  Pierce Ranch in Monterey county has all kinds of Iberian grapes, and Clay Mauritson makes a port style wine with the port grapes.  There's a handful of other places growing them. 

We had the Wind Gap Trousseau Gris a little while ago at Pizzaiolo when we had a non-red wine kind of meal.  It was quite good, not great.  Glad I tried it there since it was the most interesting thing in the white menu.

We planned to go out with friends of ours tonight to a place in SF called The Progress.  But we are adjusting plans--some setbacks in both families suggested something more modest--so I am trying to get a table at a place that lost its wine license and is now BYOB/no corkage so we can save some cash on wine.  We'll probably have either a Scholium Midan al-Tahrir or the Matthiasson White to start, which are both made with a few oddball grapes, I think.  They really like to drink locally, so I might have to dig for something interesting, although I do have Cali Cab Franc.

Reply by vin0vin0, Feb 22, 2015.

So for Spanish wine drinkers, Albarino is fairly common, more so in the Rias Baixas region where it is the main grape. Not so common for California wine growers as albarino covers less than 200 acres, mainly in the central coast and Lodi. The nose is not overly aromatic but fairly citrusy. The palate is crisp, nicely acidic, with hints of lemon cream, orange peel, a touch of baking spice, and a medium finish.

 Anyone have a favorite CA albarino producer?  The only CA albarino I've tried was made by Pasoport located in Paso Robles.

Reply by EMark, Feb 23, 2015.

GregT's list is great.  I love things like that.

Since he doesn't think that Primitivo should be on the list, then I'm pretty sure that he feels that Tribidrag should not be listed, either.   Lagier Meredith has a Tribidrag varietal bottling from Mount Veeder grown grapes.

Also, though, Lagier Meredith has a varietal bottling of Mondeuse from Mount Veeder.  I imagine that Mondeuse did not make GregT's list because it is possible that the quantity of Mondeuse plantings in California can be measurde in physicla plants in the LM vineyard rather than acres.

I have a bottle of each of these LM wines.  Whenever I get around to opening them up, I will post here.

Continuing with GregTs list, I'm a bit surprised that Grignolino is not on it.  Is it possible that the Grinolino acreage is greater than 1% of California's total?  I really don't know.  It could be.  I'm pretty sure that Heitz continues to produce out a varietal bottling of Grignolino every year.  I think that way back when, Sebastiani produced a Grignolino, but that may not be the case.

Also, way back when, I remember enjoying more than one bottle of Weibel Green Hungarian.

It's funny that you mentioned Albarino, v v.  This weekend we visited with some friends and "tasted" Spanish wines--whites from Rias Baixas (i.e., Albarinos) and reds from Rioja.  I quoted the word "tasted" becasuse, really, this annual evening is about the alcohol buzz more than anything else.  Anyway, I guess that friend Bill did not get the memo that California is no longer a part of Spain.  He brough a Trader Joe's (yes, a Trader Joe's branded) California Albarino from, as I recall, Paso Robles.

Also, v v, Bedrock puts out an Albarino bottling under the Abrente label.  I liked it sufficiently last year that I ordered some more from them, last week.

Reply by EMark, Feb 23, 2015.

OK, I'll put this one here, since it is produced form a blend of two grape varieties that are on GregT's list, above:  Montepulciano and Aglianico:


Also, I should mention that this is another Costco Selezione.

I have never heard of the Molise DOC, but, then again, I am definitely not the most worldly wine drinker.  This one hit my sweet spot by not blasting me in the face with fruit.  There is a bit of, I'm going to say, blueberry, but that is quickly beaten down by a dark chocolate bitterness.  This wine is fairly tannic, and not particularly tannic.  The lack of fruit indicates to me that it was not built for the American palate.  In fact it's harshness seems to make it the anti-American wine.  I can't say it's may favorite wine, but I am liking it.

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 23, 2015.

Mark, I believe Mondeuse should absolutely qualify as a less than 1% grape for CA.

I have a couple bottles of the 2011 to look forward to.

The Tribidrag they produce is really Zinfandel, though because Carole is who she is the call it Tribidrag.

Reply by outthere, Feb 23, 2015.

Had an Albarińo last night. Fruit came from the Sac River Delta. Label is Drop Out.

Morgan from Bedrock also makes an Albarińo in cahoots with Michael Havens under the label Abrenté. Was on the latest Bedrock release as a matter of fact. Fruit from Napa.

Reply by GregT, Feb 24, 2015.

Emark - you got it. If they have Zinfandel, they shouldn't also list it by other names. The reason Carole can call her wine that is because she got the Feds to approve it. But they only approved it as a "fantasy name", not as a grape variety! I guess they know a lot more than the world's foremost authority on wine grapes.

BTW, Di Majo Norante is a good producer of inexpensive but very drinkable wines. Nothing extraordinary, but the kind of stuff that should be poured as house wine in more cafes and restaurants. And you got the Aglianico too - that chocolate bitterness is a kind of calling card for it.

There's a guy in Temecula who is making a good Montepulciano! He does Aglianico too but his Montepulciano is seriously drinkable.

As far as Grignolino, good catch. I don't know why it's not on the list except that maybe there's just so little of it? Which as far as I'm concerned, is not such a sorry state of affairs. There are some grapes that are nice to have around for historical and pedagogical purposes, and then we move on.

Mondeuse is more interesting though. I wouldn't mind trying a few more of those out of CA.

Reply by EMark, Feb 24, 2015.

 This wine is fairly tannic, and not particularly tannic.

Sometimes, I swear, I think I'm taking stupid pills .  Should be "and not particularly acidic."


Greg, what is the name of that Temecula maker?

Reply by vin0vin0, Feb 26, 2015.

Beautiful Tablas Creek Vermentino from Paso. Really nice floral, honeysuckle nose. On the palate there's rich, creamy lemon, more honeysuckle, mouth watering acidity, a bit of salinity and a medium long finish. Extremely enjoyable and a real nice change of pace.

Couldn't find the stats for California acreage, I believe it's in the "other whites" category. Beside Tablas, we've had the "His" and "Hers" vermentinos from Ryme Cellars (damn I need to get my allotment order in) and also two bottlings from our very own North Carolina winery Raffaldini.

Reply by vin0vin0, Mar 1, 2015.

Opened this Macedonian 2012 Tikveš Rkatsiteli Special Selection later on in the evening last night. Somewhat sauv blanc like but with a bit of bitterness (almond?) on the tongue. Overall a good value around $10.

Reply by GregT, Mar 1, 2015.

Vino - good one! There's a guy in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Dr. Konstantin Frank, who makes that and it's pretty good stuff. He's long since retired but I used to see his daughter at a lot of tastings and I got to try a number of different vintages. They said it was the most widely planted grape in the world, but I don't know that they were completely correct about that since there aren't really reliable figures and almost all of the plantings are in Georgia. So I guess it makes sense that it made its way to Macedonia. I would definitely like to try it.

Matter of fact, I'm unfamiliar with most of the grapes from the near east and eastern Europe. Too bad the world is such a messed up place - there have to be some really interesting varieties over there that have been hidden away for centuries.

Reply by Really Big Al, Mar 1, 2015.

How much was that Tablas Creek Vermentino bottle?  I don't see it available at Total Wine.  They have a red for $35 though.


Reply by vin0vin0, Mar 1, 2015.

Greg, we toured Finger Lakes wineries a number of years ago while taking our daughter on College tours (she ended up at Rensselaer) and it's on our "must return to" list. A number of really good whites coming out of NY, wasn't too impressed with most of the reds.

RBA, I'm a Tablas wine club member and it came in my Fall 2014 shipment, it was $21.60 ($27 non-club price) and well worth it. The 2014 vintage is coming in a couple weeks with the Spring allotment.

Reply by Really Big Al, Mar 1, 2015.

Thanks for the info V V.  Let us know how that 2014 vintage works out.  We are waiting on our Barnett spring shipment, due to arrive tomorrow.  It's not often that Sandra lets me touch one of those Barnett cabs.

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